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Stadiums Race to Digitize

Thursday, June 12, 2014   (0 Comments)
TechRepublic (04/15/14) Hammond, Teena

Stadiums are engaged in competing digitization efforts to enhance connectivity in the face of changing fan demographics, the desire to entice fans away from big-screen TVs at home, and the drive to increase revenues. Shifting demographics is one reason for stadiums' installation of Wi-Fi, especially as college-age fans highly value Internet connectivity. "Connectivity is like running water at this point in time, especially for the younger generation of fans," says MLBAM's Joe Inzerillo. He describes Major League Baseball's long-term plans for venue connectivity as "a marathon, not a sprint," with the idea being to not only equip ballparks with new tech but to keep them constantly updated as tech evolves over time. Connectivity, along with added services and apps, is designed to deliver a fan experience that lures people to stadiums because it outclasses their wide-screen TVs. Cisco's Chris White says fan connectivity "enriches the experience because human beings are fundamentally collaborators. They want to share the experience." Connectivity also boosts the amount of money stadiums can rake in through additional purchases by fans, such as merchandise, food and beverages, or upgraded seats. "There are opportunities for revenue generation whether through ticketing platforms where we're able to offer upsales on tickets, or build products based on having more customer data," says AEG CIO Denise Taylor. She also notes data collected about fans can help venues raise revenues by more narrowly targeting sale items.

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